Northside ISD superintendent addresses COVID-19 concerns amid new school year

Dr. Brian Woods says district will begin new school year Monday with temporary mask mandate for students, staff, visitors

SAN ANTONIO – Northside Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods said despite a temporary mask mandate, things won’t be much different than last year when the new school year begins Monday.

Woods appeared Friday on KSAT 12 New at Noon to talk about the mandate and other COVID-19 concerns in the district.

Earlier this week, the Northside ISD school board approved the mandate, which requires all students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings when inside campuses.

Woods said he doesn’t know how long the mandate will be in effect and officials haven’t set any metrics on what it would take to end or extend it.

The superintendent of the largest school district in San Antonio said the current surge of COVID-19 cases warranted the mandate.

Woods said as was the case last school year, the district will offer voluntary testing, contact tracing, clean surfaces throughout the day and set up partitions where appropriate. Personal protective equipment will be provided to students and staff if they need it.

The superintendent said that vaccination clinics at high and middle school campuses will continue to be offered because he said they were successful. Woods said that between 50 to 70 people were vaccinated at 13 sites throughout the district. In addition to normal school hours, he would like clinics offered after hours on weekdays and on Saturdays.

“I think all of us are reading that what’s happening now is encouraging to families with children 12 to 18, to get vaccinated, and we want to be a source of that if that’s what families want,” he said.

Woods said anyone who tests positive for the virus will be asked to stay home. He added that nurses will contact trace and notify families if their child has been in close contact with someone who tested positive.

When asked if there will be virtual learning again, Woods said, “We hope not to have to do that because students are better off in the building with their peers and their teachers.”

He said instead of the entire district going virtual, it’s possible that an entire classroom or school would offer the alternative teaching tool if a breakout would occur.

Woods said that for now, the football season is going as scheduled, with all scrimmages and games to kick off this week and next.

Related Stories:

About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.